From a White Collar Worker to being the Voice for Waste Pickers - Lakshmi Karunakaran
Lakshmi Karunakaran | 1:49:27 | 15-Oct-2020
My guest today is Lakshmi Karunakaran, a communication specialist and an educator currently working for Hasiru Dala, a Bangalore based social impact organisation. They work primarily with the waste pickers communities and strive each day to ensure they have dignity, social equality and mobility. This conversation was a big eye opener for me, especially when it comes to understanding the lives of these Waste Pickers.
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Podcast Discussion Points
In this episode, Lakshmi shares how she switched from a promising corporate job to becoming a community social worker. How she followed her inner voice and paved her own path. And how she deals with all the emotional overwhelm while maintaining a personal-professional balance in her life.She also provides guidance for children and parents.
As Lakshmi quotes ‘Waste pickers are Environmentalists/Silent Green Collared Workers.’ We speak how these Waste pickers contributed in saving 85 Crore Rupees per year from the work they do, How Bangalore was the first city in the country to get Occupational Identity Cards for them, How the organisation helped them gain respect and freed them from the harassment and the abuse they go through each day.
Lakshmi runs the Buguri Community Libraries. We discuss how these Community Libraries help the children of Waste pickers to transform their lives by various programs and entitle them to the ‘Right of Choice’ in terms of occupation. And in conclusion Lakshmi rightly advises, ‘Invest in Small Projects with a Big Heart.’
Lakshmi is doing incredible work in the world today, and I’m grateful she came on the show to share and spread her message. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. Lets dive in.
Links and resources
– Lakshmi was Awarded at the India Reading Olympiad at Hyderabad Literature Festival 2020.
– Lakshmi is currently working with a social impact organisation that started 10 years ago, Hasiru Dala.
– She is actively Part of The Buguri Children’s Initiative Community Libraries.
– Lakshmi is Part of a Urban Community Radio Station, Radio Active CR 90.4 MHz.
– She is also Part of a non-profit organisation ‘Read Aloud Campaign’
– Books authored by children of the Buguri Community Library under IFA (India Foundation for the Arts) Aye Reena & Oota Aayutha (Illustrated Recipe Book)
You can reach out to Lakshmi at